Let’s imagine you have a neighbor named Fred. You get an idea one day, and knock on Fred’s door
You: Hi Fred. I have a proposition for you. I’m going to give you your house, to keep forever, if you clean my house for the rest of your life. What do you say?
Fred: Uh…. let me get this straight…. you’re going to give my own house to me, if I clean yours. Are you insane?
DOOR SLAMS IN YOUR FACE.
You must have been a complete and utter idiot for making such an offer. You wouldn’t consider Fred a genius to have seen through it, would you? How smart would a person need to be to turn it down? Not very…
Would anyone ever be stupid enough to make such an offer? We are told that once someone did:
This is from the book of Matthew: “Again the devil taketh him [Jesus] up into an exceeding high mountain and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and saith unto him: ‘All these will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.’ ”
The bible tells us that Jesus is God. If that were true, then of course the devil would have known that. Yet according to this story, the devil took the all-powerful God, creator and owner of the universe, up on an exceedingly high mountain and offered Him this earth if He would fall down and worship the devil, who could not claim to own one foot of dirt! Is it possible the devil was such an idiot? Should any credit be given to this god for not being caught with such cheap trick? Think of it! The devil, the Tempter — the Prince of Deceivers– the King of Cunning – the Master of Finesse, trying to bribe God with a tiny little planet that already belonged to God!
Why did the devil try to bribe Jesus into worshipping him by offering him the world? The devil knew that he was talking to Jesus, the owner of the very world that he was offering. The devil knew that the earth wasn’t his to give, and he also knew that Jesus knew it too! And how smart did Jesus need to be to see through this stupid bribe? Not very…
Another point to ponder: how could the devil have “taken” Christ anywhere that he did not want to go? The devil “taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple”, and later “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain.” Did he carry Christ up the mountain on his back? Was the devil stronger than God? Of course he could not have been. So we must assume that Jesus went willingly to all these ‘temptations’. Why did Jesus go with the devil? What did Jesus think was going to happen? What did they talk about on the way?
But here is another problem. We are told in Genesis 3:14 that after the speaking serpent had completed the mission for which he had been placed into the Garden of Eden by God (that of tempting Eve with the fruit), God cursed the serpent: “upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” All the days of thy life? Does the devil have a finite life? The Christians must suppose that the devil is still in business– so somewhere out there in the world is a snake that is 6,000 years old and eats nothing but dust! If someone could find that snake, I would be converted real fast.
Now, this poses a difficulty for the author of Matthew. How did the devil, in the form of a snake, take Jesus up to the pinnacle? Can you say:”Jesus the serpent-rider”? The New Testament does not mention satan slithering around as a serpent, eating dust all over the place.
And there is yet another big problem with this story. Consider this line: “The devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world.” Please, tell me where there is such a mountain! For this story to be a possibility, the earth must be flat– for there were kingdoms in China, Europe and all over the Western Hemisphere. We know for a fact that the prevailing belief in the Middle East 2000 years ago was that the earth was flat. The author of Matthew firmly believed the earth was flat as a pancake, like everyone else of his time. How then, can it be claimed that he was “inspired by God to write His Word” when the scriptures contain such a glaring error?
How did the writer of Matthew get this information? He was not there upon the mountain with Satan and Christ. True believers claim that he was “inspired”. Well, I say it takes more inspiration to read the story than it did to write it.
We are told that we must swallow this stupid story, hook, line and sinker. We are told that God gave us the freewill to believe it or not believe it– but this gift comes with a deadly threat. You can either believe this crappy story– or be eternally damned in a place of endless torture beyond anything you could imagine. What kind of choice is that? Some people are convinced that the threat is a very real one, and so they will believe any story that their preachers tell them. Under these conditions, some people can be made to believe anything at all.
Salvation is not awarded by doing good deeds, we are told by the Christian Church, but through belief alone. (see John 3:6-17). God can forgive all things, it is said, except disbelief. He will pardon the murderer of children, if the murderer falls down and begs for forgiveness and accepts Jesus Christ as his savior. But He will not pardon the person who uses reason and honesty, and who finally decides: “I just can’t believe it.” I am told that it doesn’t matter how good of a person I am during my life, because at the end of it, I will be asked: “Did you believe the one about the devil tempting Christ?” I’ll have to be honest and say, “No, I didn’t. It was just too far-fetched. Sorry.”
For me, I cannot swallow it, no matter how much I am threatened. I can’t help it. It has to make sense to me… that’s the way my brain works. If there is a god floating somewhere up in the vacuum of space, then he’s sure to understand that.
If you do believe that tale, I’d have to ask you: WHY in the HELL do you?